Background Environmental perfume exposure may cause respiratory symptoms. Individuals with asthma and perfume contact allergy report such symptoms more frequently than others. However, immunologic mechanisms have not been demonstrated and the symptoms are not associated with IgE-mediated allergy. The study aimed to investigate whether basophils from patients with respiratory symptoms related to perfume released more histamine in the presence of perfume as compared with healthy volunteers.
Methods Histamine release was measured by the glass fibre method. Blood was obtained from healthy volunteers (n=20) and patients with respiratory symptoms related to perfume (n=17) attending a dermatological outpatient clinic for patch testing. The effect of an international brand perfume was investigated using the basophil histamine release test with perfume. Furthermore, basophils from a healthy non-atopic donor were incubated with participant's sera and histamine release induced by perfume was measured.
Results In both groups incremental perfume concentrations showed a positive and significant (P<0.001) dose-response effect on the release of histamine. At the highest perfume concentration, the basophils released significantly (P<0.05) more histamine in patients as compared with healthy volunteers. No difference was found between the groups when sera were incubated with basophils from a healthy non-atopic donor.
Conclusion Perfume induces a dose-dependent non-IgE-mediated release of histamine from human peripheral blood basophils. Increased basophil reactivity to perfume was found in patients with respiratory symptoms related to perfume.